Mariah Carey;s “Always Be My Baby” is the single that tied her with Madonna and Whitney Houston for the most successful woman in US chart history in terms of #1s. To most people, though, it’s one of the more straightforward pop tracks in her mid ’90s stylistic shift towards more hip hop-influenced music. It was a massive hit but not as much as at least one other song from the same album. (Mariah was really big in the ’90s.)
Sufjan Stevens’ track “Romulus,” off of his 2003 album Greetings from Michigan the Great Lake State, sparkles with its vulnerable meditations on parenting. Stevens whispers confessions about a strained relationship between child and mother, one filled with shame, guilt, and confusion, yet also gratitude. Japanese Breakfast’s cover of the song for SiriusXMU Sessions puts this vulnerability on display.
Over our time tracking cover songs (13 years this month!), we’ve written about hundreds of new tribute albums, across reviews, news stories, and, when they’re good enough, our best-of-the-year lists. We also have looked back on plenty of great tribute albums from the past in our Cover Classics series. But we’ve never pulled it all together – until now.
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).
Today’s question: What’s a favorite a cappella cover?
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
I should probably start this with a pop music true confession: the first Joni Mitchell album I ever bought and listened to in full was 1974’s Court And Spark, and the sole reason I purchased it was because I’d heard Prince, whom I was obsessed with (this was the early ’80s), say that he loved it and thought she was a genius (or something to that effect). Basically, if the person who made my #1 favorite album (Purple Rain) with my # 1 favorite song (“I Would Die 4 U”) loved her, there had to be a reason, and I needed to know what that reason was. I bought the album, and by the time I’d finished playing it, like most humans upon exposure to Joni, I’d been transformed into a complete devotee, snarfing up every album and playing them endlessly forever. That Prince, he knew what he was talking about.